Class action firm secures £45m funding facility

Pogust: The bigger the army, the easier it is to go to war

Class action law firm PGMBM has secured a £45m funding facility from alternative investments firm North Wall Capital to pursue claims across the world.

To date it has dealt with funders on an individual case basis – obtaining commitments worth about £55m – but PGMBM chairman Harris Pogust told Litigation Futures that this deal provided far more flexibility.

He described the relationship as “more of a partnership” than the usual funder/law firm dynamic. “I see them as an arm of the law firm,” he said.

If North Wall chooses not to back a particular case, PGMBM will be free to approach other funders.

Mr Pogust explained that PGMBM was expanding into new markets – it opened an office in Miami last autumn – and new types of cases: “The goal is to keep going to where other people need the help.” The firm has also hired staff from a dozen different countries.

Within three years, he predicted that the firm would be “throughout Europe and moving towards the Asian market”.

The aim, the US-based lawyer said, was to become a global practice, so that it could represent clients on the same issue in multiple countries simultaneously.

“The bigger the army, the easier it is to go to war. Now we have the funding capabilities to be able to fund those cases. There’s no defendant we can’t go up against now.”

PGMBM is a fast-growing partnership between British, American and Brazilian lawyers who specialise in bringing international group actions for the victims of wrongdoing by large corporations.

The firm’s profile has risen considerably in recent months. We reported in January that it was the first law firm in the UK to advertise on TV for claimants to join specific cases – the Mercedes emissions and BA data breach actions.

Less positively, last year the High Court struck out the Fundão Dam action it brought on behalf of more than 200,000 claimants in Brazil. The firm is appealing. Last month, the claimants were ordered to make an £8m interim costs payment.

It rebranded last April after splitting from the specialist US practice with which it originally set up in 2018 at SPG Law.

Mr Pogust said the firm was increasing its international caseload, and the North Wall funding “helps us continue that journey”.

He went on: “We have been impressed with the dedication, speed and creativity of the North Wall team in structuring a funding solution that addresses our current and future funding needs and are pleased to have found a partner that shares our passion for socially responsible litigation.”

He said North Wall approach PGMBM as it had investors keen to back ‘ESG’ causes – environmental, social and governance.

Alexander Garnier, founding partner of North Wall Capital, said: “We are pleased to play a part in PGMBM’s pursuit of justice for its clients by providing this substantial funding line.

“This partnership will complement our existing investments and our team’s leadership in the ESG-focused legal asset space.”

Chief investment officer Fabian Chrobog added: “Structured legal assets financing offers uncorrelated returns and our strong focus on ESG-focused litigation meets the growing demand for ESG investment strategies from institutional investors.

“Our inaugural legal assets fund has been fully deployed in support of ESG-focused litigation, which places an economic cost on environmental and other damage caused by large corporates.

“As large corporations are increasingly held to account for their behaviour, we see a significant and growing opportunity set in this space.”

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